Friday 5 October, 2018: A document released through Freedom of Information has revealed Korea responding positively to efforts by the Australian Government to promote Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal project.
The document, sent from Seoul to Canberra in November 2016, follows a meeting between the Korean Export and Import Bank and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, arranged at Adani’s request. It states:
More generally, we underscored our interest in encouraging Korean investment in Australian infrastructure, as well as the participation of Korean E&C companies with respect to construction.
While we understood that decisions with respect to commercial viability were for the private sector to make, we noted the strong interest of the Australian and Queensland governments in the success of this project.
Market Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent said: “The Australian Government has already shown it would bend over backwards for Adani, attempting to throw taxpayers’ money at this environmental and social nightmare to make it a reality. Its disgusting that our public offices are serving as the marketing department for Adani to promote its mega coal mine.”
Korean finance and involvement could be key to the Adani Carmichael project proceeding.
Adani is attempting to sell a minority stake in the Abbot Point coal export terminal, with Rothschild advising on the sale. If successful the sale would raise capital Adani could then use for the mine and/or rail components of the Carmichael coal project.
The Courier Mail on 14 September reported (Adani to fast-track Queensland mine project) “It [Adani] is understood to be holding talks with Korean finance companies who are interested in buying a stake in the port. It could be done within months.”
Since the Korean Exim Bank – DFAT meeting took place, Korea has taken a dramatic turn on climate change and the role of coal. President Moon Jae-in was elected in 2017 on a clean energy and clean air platform and has been supportive of strong action on climate change.
This week, the province of South Chungcheong joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, accelerating the closure of 14 coal-fired power units. Furthermore, two major public investors, Teachers Pension and Government Employees Pension System in Korea, announced on 4 October 2018 they would be divesting from coal.
“There’s a real risk that Korean companies and investors are being pushed to support the Adani Carmichael project without being made aware of the massive social and environmental risks it poses,” said Mr Vincent.
“As Downer, AECOM and Aurizon have all learned the hard way, the Adani Carmichael project is brand kryptonite for any company that gets involved. Any potential investor, Korean or otherwise, needs to be aware of the strength of community opposition to the most environmentally contentious project in Australia’s history.”
The Stop Adani Alliance wrote to the Korean Embassy and Korea’s Climate Change Ambassador on 19 September regarding the movement’s concerns about Korean investment in Abbot Point. No response has been received.
The Stop Adani Alliance is planning a peaceful demonstration in front of the Korean Embassy in Canberra (113 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla, ACT 2600) at 12.30 pm on Wednesday 10 October, calling on the Korean government to warn investors and prospective partner companies off involvement in Abbot Point or any other part of the Adani Carmichael project.